PESHAWAR: The provincial government has embarked on an extensive reform strategy in the sports sector during the last two years to strengthen sports at the grass-root level, claim the officials of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of sports, on Friday.
The officials said that KP has allocated Rs26 billion in the fiscal budget to ensure the provision of stadiums and gymnasiums with appropriate facilities at all divisional headquarters. The finance department data shows that around Rs 1,582 million has been earmarked for 27 ongoing sports projects, Rs789 million for 21 ongoing tourism projects, and Rs 789 million for youth affairs.
Rs 44 million has been allocated for the completion of work on the Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium Peshawar, Rs33 million has been earmarked for the ongoing 1000 ground facility, Rs1.9 billion has been allocated towards the establishment of new grounds in different districts, and Rs33 million is allocated for the infrastructure development, promotion of tourism sites, and developing of roads for the promotion tourism.
Similarly, officials informed, Rs1.1 billion would be spent under the KITE program, which includes exploring tourism potential; the World Bank has also extended financial support to the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The Department of Sports has appointed a designated Task Force to prepare a comprehensive Provincial Sports Policy in consultation with stakeholders,” said Asfandyar Khattak, Director-General sports.
For developing new A-class Category Sports Stadia’s (ground with international standard facilities) at Tank, Kalam, Lakki Marwat, Chitral, and Tahkal Peshawar and for up-gradation of all facilities including cricket ground in Hayatabad Sports Complex, the govt has allocated Rs 500 million.
Another salient feature of the sports budget for the year-2020-21 was Rs 830 million allocated for the up-gradation of all existing facilities across KP that would benefit and help the Directorate Sports KP for overall promotion of sports in the province.
DG Sports Asfandyar Khan Khattak when asked to comment said that due to various initiatives the females from the province equally participated in the games, adding that for the first time that the government introduced the biggest ever U-21 Games wherein 22,000 female and male players participated in 34 male and 21 female games.
He informed that work on the laying of artificial hockey turf in historical Islamia College and laying of Tartan Track (Artificial Athletic Tracks) in Bannu Sports Complex have already kicked off.
Khattak further informed that the KP government announced a handsome amount of Rs 400 million including a monthly stipend for those securing and attaining gold, silver, bronze medals.
As part of sport policy to hunt and encourage new talent, in one-year time the KP appeared prominently at national and international levels. Schoolboys Humam Ahmad and Hamza Khan won silver medals each in the Under-13 and Under-15 categories in the US Junior Squash Championship held in Boston, USA, this year while 15-year old Laiba Ahmad got 6th position in the Girls Under-17 category in the US Junior.
Similarly, Humam and Hamza won silver medals in Pan Malaysian Open and gold medals in British Open Junior respectively. Laiba became the only girl from KP to win two gold medals in the last Quaid-e-Azam Games held in Islamabad.
At the national level, the athletes of KP, for the first time, got 15 gold medals, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals in the last National Junior and Youth Athletic Championships held in Lahore and KP was declared the winner of the overall trophy in the 72 years history.
At the national level, 120 players got medals in the 33rd National Games and all unprecedentedly the medalists had been given sports scholarships for the first time, Rs. 30,000 for gold medalist, Rs 20,000 for silver and Rs 10,000 for bronze medalists. The government also honored those who won international medalist with Rs 300,000 for the gold medal, Rs 200,000 for silver and Rs 100,000 besides bearing all their traveling, boarding, and lodging expenses.
The female athletes of KP won bronze medals in the 33rd National Games and overall 2nd position in the games, which was certainly an honor looking at the joint efforts of the Directorate of Sports KP, the government of KP, and KP Olympic Association.